University of California commits $250M for a new tech venture fund for biotech, more

Vivek Ranadivé

The University of California is committing $250 million to back a venture fund that will be led by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Vivek Ranadivé, who will take the lead on investing in a slate of university spinouts involved in biotech and more.

UC's Board of Regents says that they decided to go with a well known innovator with a track record on startups that includes Teknekron and TIBCO, a communications platform. Ranadivé will lead the fund, and now plans to recruit a staff to manage the cash.

The move comes two years after the university decided to start investing in the technology created by professors and students in the sprawling state system, which includes 10 campuses, five medical centers and three affiliated national laboratories. Its research stars include CRISPR-Cas9 pioneer Jennifer Doudna at Berkeley, Antoni Ribas at UCLA and a host of professors at UC San Diego who have helped create a local biotech hub.

The group as a whole is credited with more than 800 startups in the past 35 years.

"This venture will support the research and entrepreneurship of UC faculty and student researchers whose discoveries can benefit people throughout California, the nation and the world," UC President Janet Napolitano said. "Vivek is a leader who can make that happen. His involvement will enable us to achieve our objective of capitalizing on UC innovation."

- here's the release